Archbishop warns of 'rainbow plague' amid LGBT tensions in Poland

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By Lauren Chadwick  with Reuters
Archbishop warns of 'rainbow plague' amid LGBT tensions in Poland
Copyright  Jakub Porzycki/Agencja Gazeta via REUTERS

An archbishop in Poland has warned of a "rainbow plague" amid ongoing tensions in the country over gay rights.

Marek Jedraszewski, the archbishop of Krakow, made the comments during a homily to mark the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising.

"We also know that our land is thankfully no longer affected by the red plague (taken to be a reference to communism), which does not mean that there is no new one that wants to control our souls, our hearts and minds," said Jedraszewski.

This new "plague" would be "not Marxist, Bolshevik, but born of the same spirit, neo-Marxist. Not red, but rainbow," Jedraszewski said.

Rainbow flags are one of the best-known symbols of the LGBT community and are often seen at gay rights marches.

Jedraszewski's comments come amid tensions between Poland's LGBT community and various institutions.

Last month an LGBT rights march in the city of Bialystok was targeted by far-right groups.

Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) Party recently launched a campaign against LGBT rights ahead of key elections in October. Poland's Catholic Church also increased its anti-gay rhetoric and has a strong influence in Poland.

In addition, a conservative Polish newspaper started distributing "LGBT-Free zone" stickers in recent weeks.

Human Rights Watch said in March that PiS party leaders have often "misrepresented efforts to advance gender equality and end discrimination as attacks on 'traditional' family values".

Same-sex marriage is still illegal in Poland, unlike many other European countries.

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The Archbishop's homily took place in the medieval St. Mary's Basilica to mark the Warsaw Uprising — a Polish resistance operation against the Germans in 1944 that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

"Words like these shouldn't have been said by anyone, not by a priest, not by a bishop, not even by any decent Christian. That is why it is so outrageous and, at the same time, it shows which direction the Polish church is heading toward," theologist Jaroslaw Makowski told Polish tv station TVN.

This article has been corrected to show that the Warsaw Uprising took place in 1944.